Local Food - News

Tues 22 Nov 2016: The orchard was marked out by Sue, Sarah, Sharon and Nigel, ready for the planting which will take place on Saturday (10-4).

It was a drizzly cold day; Sarah was in charge of the layout, and Sue measured up. The second picture shows Sarah and me attempting to construct a right angle with a tape measure; eventually we got it.

Marking out Botcheston Orchard in the rain ... Marking out Botcheston Orchard in the rain ...

If you are able to help on Saturday, please bring a mug (or you won't be able to collect your coffee and soup), and a camping chair. See you there.

22 Nov 16

22 May 16, Botcheston Organic Farm, 3pm; second public meeting.

We are pleased to report that the community orchard project is able to proceed, thanks to a generous grant from GREGGS PLC. We can now afford the trees, which will be ordered shortly, and the set-up costs for the orchard. A group of about 20 volunteers has been assembled to help with planting and orchard maintenance.

The next stage to the project will be to mark out a grid on the one-acre site, once the hay has been cut. Planting of the bought trees should be at some time during November. About twenty of the trees have been grafted with the help of LHAP (Leicestershire Heritage Apples Project) and these will need growing to a height of about 3ft before being planted; this will occur later.

There will be Leicestershire and other heritage apples, both eating and cooking, with additional cherries, plums, gages, medlars, pears and a mulberry. We are presently working out some of the practical details, such as the best form of rabbit protection for the young trees.

We wish to thank GREGGS PLC for making the project possible.

Part of the meeting was filmed by Julie Drake, and this will be put onto Youtube shortly.

22 May 16

We are collaborating with Botcheston Farm in setting up an orchard. More about this will be found shortly on the 'Raw n Pure' website. The orchard will contain a selection of good flavoured heritage varieties and most of the apples which originate in Leicestershire. We recently spent a day grafting trees for the plot. Some of the grafting activity is shown below.



The apple-picking season is a lot longer than is generally realised. The first apples can be picked in mid-July, but apples can be picked through September, October, November, December and January if the correct varieties are chosen.

The Botcheston orchard will contain three main kinds of apple: Heritage varieties noted for their fine flavour, Leicestershire varieties which are well suited to a cold-county climate and soil, and late winter varieties, which in most years are best picked after Christmas Day. These late apples will store for the whole of the winter.

12 Mar 16

Each apple scored out of 5 by N and J; total score out of 10. Christmas Pippin came top; Mere Pippin a close second. Date of tasting: 10 March 2016. Most of these apples had been picked on or after Christmas Day.

This tasting has been filmed and is on Youtube. See link

The EU has decided that British farms must put up billboards to publicise the grants they receive from Brussels.

Farmers have been told that they will be penalised financially if they refuse to co-operate. Farmers receiving more than half a million pounds per year must put up and pay for a billboard measuring 4ft x 6ft, describing how they have been supported by EU subsidies, showing the EU logo and the slogan "European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas".

It will be noted that the slogan isn't very catchy and is unlikely to impress many people. It also suggests that the pro-EU faction is losing the argument.

Liz Truss, the Environment Secretary, is not impressed. She has described the propaganda as a waste of money which will not help Europe's case.

I also suggest that forcing farmers to publish propaganda is likely to backfire.

14 Nov 15

Leicestershire Heritage Apples Project is teaming up with Botcheston farm, Leicestershire, which supplies organic vegetable boxes, in the planning of an orchard which will grow Leicestershire Heritage Apples and other uncommon varieties.

28 Oct 15

ND / habitat21.

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